vineri, 5 iulie 2013

Potential of the Romanian-Chinese partnership

China - the country that stands strong in the world - cannot be left out of any analysis regarding bilateral opportunities, both in terms of its relations with the European Union as a whole, as well as with the individual Member States.

China invests in European infrastructure, the banking sector, etc., and in early May the largest law firm in China opened its doors in Brussels, in order to keep the interests at heart of their clients who are "playing" on the European stage.

Although the country has to deal with certain stereotypes which question the quality of Chinese made products and services, many countries across the globe enjoy good cooperation with the growing economic power. Among other things, the Chinese have managed to build over 600 km of motorway in China in a couple of days, which is more than Romania managed to do in 20 years. Currently China has even more kilometers of highway than the whole of the European Union and Turkey combined.

China is in the top five export customers for products "made in Germany". Germany, in turn, imports goods from China worth tens of billions of euros annually. Germany receives about 26.5 billion euros worth of investment from about 4,000 Chinese firms. China quickly recovered the gap from the past: in 2011, 158 Chinese companies were established in Germany. The investment volume amounted to 1.2 billion, outperforming the U.S. and Switzerland, as the Financial Times reports.

Greece is another example of an EU member state that was "yellowed" (positively) by the presence of Chinese investors. But back to Romania...

Romanian-Chinese cooperation is not new. I recently wrote that Chinese investors are interested in acquiring reactors 3 and 4 from the Cernavoda and Tarniţa-Lăpuşteşti hydro centrals, and the newest development shows Chinese interest in winning a tender for the construction of the Azuga-Braşov motorway. Also in the energy sector, where feasibility studies and tendering are favorable, other centers could be built with Asian investment in Turnu Severin and Hunedoara and actually the energy complex Rovinari already waits for over a billion dollars after the contract got awarded to a Chinese firm.

Chinese businessmen are also interested in investing in Romanian agriculture or IT projects.

"China is the first commercial partner of Romania from Asia and ranks 16th among foreign investors. Romania's interests are summarized as follows: reducing the trade deficit by increasing exports, developing Chinese involvement in large projects (infrastructure, energy, agriculture, etc.), identifying cooperation projects in "nontraditional" areas (IT, banking, environment); exploration and exploitation of opportunities for cooperation on third markets (eg Mongolia, Iraq, Afghanistan)," according to MAE. In turn, China aims to promote their products on the European market.

Romania's imports from China consist of telecommunications equipment, machinery, metal products & articles of metals, organic chemicals, textiles clothing items, shoes, appliances, computers, optical instruments, building materials, toys.

Romania looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China in 2013, as stated by Prime Minister, Victor Ponta. According to another statement made by Ponta in some Chinese publications, the Romanian authorities want to simplify the legislation aimed to attract as many Chinese businessmen and tourists as possible.

At the cultural level, the two countries work together on providing lectures on Chinese language and literature at the universities of Bucharest, Iaşi and Cluj-Napoca and lectures on Romanian language at Beijing University.

Normally, Romania as a member of the European Union is indeed an important gateway for China into the EU. We must understand that Romania has its advantages in this collaboration, so I talk about significant gains for both parties if these opportunities are treated properly.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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